IntraFish NYC Seafood Investor Forum: Read highlights from the event

Top execs from the global seafood industry and investors gathered in New York City for the 2017 IntraFish Seafood Investment Forum.

Check out the photo gallery of the event and see who attended.

Tuesday, May 23, 3.45 p.m EST

'All roads lead back to salmon'

The last panel closing out the Seafood Investor Forum comprised of four investment companies: Pareto Securities Partner Kristoffer Jordheim; Forum Capital Managing Director Brad Hudson; Amerra Capital Management Portfolio Manager Thor Arne Talseth; and David Tze, managing partner of Tze Venture Search Fund for Aquaculture Technology.

"All roads lead back to salmon at the end of the day," said Hudson. "Finding the right opportunity away from that [salmon sector] -- whether it’s a different species or technology -- we haven’t found the right package, the right mix of management, idea and location with the right risk-return."

Talseth chimed in, saying management is key.

"You want a solid base before you invest," he said. "In aquaculture, if you don’t have a good management team, the consequences could be catastrophic."

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Tuesday, May 23, 3.04 p.m EST

US ready for fresh, pre-packed salmon?

Currently natural fresh pre-packed salmon products has limited penetration in the US market, said Marine Harvest COO of Sales and Marketing Ola Brattvoll.

US seafood retail sales in 2015 was about $16 billion. Of that total, salmon accounted for $2.5 billion. Of the total salmon sales in retail, natural fresh accounted for 40 percent and of that 40 percent, 5 percent is natural fresh pre-packed salmon.

“This is where we believe is the big potential for giving consumers the product they want to have.”

Young consumers don’t know how to prepare whole fish. Companies need to “make your product more available to modern consumers,” he said.

Marine Harvest’s Dallas facility opened in Q4 2016 with 100,000 square feet of value added processing capabilities. Its Vancouver facility opens this summer and it plans to expand next year the facility for Maine-based smoked salmon producer Ducktrap as well as Marine Harvest’s Miami facility.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2.36 p.m EST

The cost of aquaculture

Benchmark outlined its efforts and the importance of disease prevention in aquaculture.

"These are high growth markets, but they're often limited" by issues such as disease. These are also high margin businesses and highly scalable.

Benchmark's current research focuses on sealice resistance, EMS/AHPND in shrimp, streptoccocus in tilapia and antibiotic alternatives.

Here's a look at the sector by the numbers according to Benchmark:

  • Cost of antibiotics in aquaculture: $4 billion
  • Shrimp market size: $15 billion
  • Salmon market size: 10.7 billion
  • Tilapia market size: $6.7 billion

Benchmark is currently working on new vaccines for other species, such as grouper and barrimundi.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2.18 p.m EST

Firm eyes Mediterranean, Iran

"We’ve been refocusing our efforts. We're looking at the Mediterranean and Iran," said Akva Group CEO Hallvard Muri. "Russia may be coming back so we’re keeping an eye on that.

The company is expecting an increase in production of sea bass and sea bream. In the Mediterranean, Turkey is leading the way with other countries following.

In Iran, there is much government support. The Iranian government targets 200,000 metric tons of production in cages by 2020. The Persian Gulf is ideal for farming barramundi and sea bream

Akva Group Middle East LLC will be established in Iran in 2017.

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Tuesday, May 23, 1.59 p.m EST

Immature market woes

“Approximately 90 percent of sales to the salmon sector, however, salmon only accounts for 4 percent of the global aquaculture production," said Akva Group CEO Hallvard Muri.

"No question a potential but we are faced with several challenges in immature markets."

Challenges of immature markets include

  • lack of fish farming competence
  • lack of project completion capacity
  • unpredictable and undeveloped markets
  • political and legal risks -- such as Russian sanctions
  • corruption, reputation and corporate governance risks -- be careful who you choose to partner with
  • health, safety and environment (HSE)

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Tuesday, May 23, 12.53 p.m EST

Shrimp farming ready to ramp up

Cargill Group Director and VP Dan Burke dived into the potential opportunities in shrimp farming.

IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum: Cargill eyes shrimp farming potential in Latin America

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There are advancements in technology to increase growth rate, such as automatic feeders on timers.

A few years ago sonar technology detected "shrimp don't eat in the morning as farmers thought. They feed in the evening."

The company entered Ecuador a few years ago. Ecuador is a consolidated feed market with just four players but Cargill partnered with a local player -- Naturisa -- to gain access.

Their joint venture feed plant grew from 27,000 metric tons to more than 50,000 metric tons in the first year and this year, "we expect to be over 100,000 tons," he said.

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Tuesday, May 23, 12.24 p.m EST

Fishmeal & oil not going anywhere

Aquaculture accounts for 32 percent of Omega Protein’s end markets, said Omega Protein CEO Bret Scholtes.

Aquaculture takes 70 percent of fishmeal that is produced. In comparison, it accounted for only 10 percent of fishmeal usage in 1980.

For aquaculture to grow, inclusion rates need to be cut.

"Unless there is a shift in demand by direct human consumption for pelagic fish, meal and oil will continue to be predominately consumed by aquaculture."

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Tuesday, May 23, 11.53 a.m EST

Rule changes in Chile

AquaChile CFO Francisco Lepeley broke down the recent regulatory amendments.

Currently, for each new cycle, producers may select for all their licenses in a sanitary area to fall into one of two alternatives: Density Rule or Smolt Release Reduction Percentage

  • Density rule: All producers in a given sanitary area or barrio, the maximum fish density is based on several factors, such as the mortality of the previous cycle.
  • Smolt release: This rule determines the maximum number of smolt to be released in a license assuming reduction from the previous cycle is based on its sanitary performance. An extraordinarily good performance could mean a possible 3 percent increase.

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Tuesday, May 23, 11.37 a.m EST

What's next for Chile?

AquaChile CFO Francisco Lepeley said the main upcoming challenges and changes for the Chilean salmon industry include regulation improvements to make the local industry more efficient.

"Also, we're expecting industry consolidation to take place, currently it's quite fragmented still," he said, adding recent M&A activity has been driven by Japanese players.

The sector is optimistic for growing demand, a greater focus on sustainability due to consumer demand and Lepeley expects a technology upgrade, both in Chile and globally.

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Tuesday, May 23, 11:14 a.m EST

Calysta finds progress with FeedKind

Calysta's Lynsey Wenger said the company's FeedKind protein appeals to retailers for traceability reasons because any fish can be tested to show it was fed a FeedKind diet.

FeedKind is created through a natural proprietary fermentation process and commercial samples are shipped worldwide from its Teesside UK plant. The material from this plant is now being tested in multiple locations worldwide.

About 75 percent of FeedKind is protein. In January, the company tested continuous fermentation and after four runs, it achieved "optimal running capacity" with a successful maintenance of eight plus weeks of continuous fermentation.

Its most recent growth trials with rainbow trout showed "the impact on growth rate was unchanged" when adjusting the amount of FeedKind used.

"We’re at the point where we can focus on nutrition so we’re making key hires in that area," she said.

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Tuesday, May 23, 10.47 a.m EST

Sustainability = quality

Kingfish Zeeland is going into yellowtail land-based farming, which has a market among chefs and premium retailers

"We have sustainability markers that translate to quality," said CEO Ohad Maiman, adding the company is working on BAP standards and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) after. "It’s a technology that lets you grow" sustainably.

When talking with end consumers, he said the "technology is a double edge sword  to explain to the market."

Rather, they focus on discussing with consumers about the RAS' sustainability, organic feed, and so on.

"We just started ambassador chef program in Europe to let them experience the fish."

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Tuesday, May 23, 10.16 a.m EST

Language barrier

When it comes to getting investors, particularly larger ones, to finance land-based aquaculture projects, there seems to be a hurdle.

"The language we are speaking is not the language of investors," said AquaMaof VP and Co-owner Yoav Dagan, adding larger investors should look at salmon and shrimp. "Big players would go for species that have bigger potential to scale it larger."

Pentair's Joe McElwee said it will take time. "Look how we had to convince the investors for cage culture farming."

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Tuesday, May 23, 9.54 a.m EST

Desert RAS

AquaMaof is building a RAS farm in the middle of the Israeli desert to farm salmon and sea bream. The company also has a research center in the desert.

"It's about economies of scale," said VP and Co-owner Yoav Dagan, adding RAS projects need to start at 5,000 metric tons or more.

"We're now doing projects with 20,000 tons," he said. "You don’t have to be near an ocean or rivers, you just need enough water and electricity."

IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum: Firm expands land-based aquaculture reach

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Tuesday, May 23, 9.38 a.m EST

Different philosophies

AquaMaof VP and Co-owner Yoav Dagan said the approach to RAS land-based fish farming is different from traditional methods.

"We’re not smarter than anybody else. When we started, we purchased five different technologies from five different countries. We put them into our system and what we saw was that it all came from wastewater treatment philosophy," he said.

"We come from fish farming philosophy."

AquaMaof started with earth ponds and cage farming, but has been working with RAS aquculture for the last 18 years.

The company specializes in 16-20 species and has four RAS farms in Israel.

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Tuesday, May 23, 9.16 a.m EST

'Steep learning curve'

Keynote Speaker Henning Lund, senior analyst at Pareto, said high density is the No. 1 factor for success in land-based salmon farming. However, it has several difficulties and a "steep learning curve."

He said land-based growth also will come from larger smolt size.

IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum: Pareto outlines key success factors for land-based salmon farming

Read more
 

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Tuesday, May 23, 8.02 a.m EST

The agenda is set

The agenda for today's IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum NYC starts with IntraFish Publisher Pål Korneliussen, followed by Keynote Speaker Henning Lund, Pareto senior analyst.

AquaMaof VP and Co-owner Yoav Dagan is the first speaker. After is the first panel discussion: land-based aquaculture. The second panel focuses on investing in seafood.

Later in the day, there are presentations from Leroy, AquaChile, Bakkafrost, Omega Protein, Cargill, Akva Group, Benchmark and Marine Harvest.

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Tuesday, May 23, 7.02 a.m EST

Big names in the Big Apple

The IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum NYC arrives in Manhattan today.

The event, brought to you together with Pareto Securities, is gearing up to be the best yet, with representatives from some of the largest private equity and investment companies worldwide signed up to attend.

And as well as the opportunity to network, the speaker lineup provides a broad range of expert insight into the technology, nutrition and companies that will take the global seafood industry forward into a sustainable and financially lucrative future.

The annual meeting brings together the industry's most elite executives to discuss the opportunities for investment and growth in the global seafood, aquaculture and commercial harvesting industry.

Joining our speaker and panel lineup are top executives from Cargill, Marine Harvest, Leroy Seafood, Omega Protein, Bakkafrost, Kingfish Zeeland, AquaMaof, Pentair, Amerra Capital and Forum Capital.

Attendees will benefit from a full day of presentations and panels, interspersed with networking opportunities, as well as in the days in the run-up to the event.

-- IntraFish Media

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